Anxious to shrug off their ‘pipe and slippers’ image, the XF was (and still is) incredibly important in terms of the future success of Jaguar as a brand.
There was never any doubting the quality, but in the middle of an economic meltdown identifying a shifting customer base was proving to be a challenge. Jaguar’s answer to the problem was simple, they just made their cars more exciting and desirable.
The XF reappeared in 2008 as a replacement for the S-Type and the 2011 version, while not radically different, has had a slight nip n’ tuck to fine-tune it’s good looks.
A revised grille, bonnet, new triangular side vents, and über cool xenon headlamps keep the air of good breeding that Jags have always radiated, but they also help to make the XF look that bit meaner too.
The 2.2 litre model is the baby of the current bunch of XF’s. A Jaguar in all senses of the word (the interior is pure luxury, more on that in a minute) but it doesn’t have that ‘boom’ of acceleration and power you might get from the 5.0 Litre V8 Supercharged version.
0-60 is a somewhat leisurely 8.0 seconds compared with 4.7seconds taken to cover the same distance in the big one. Closer to the speed limit acceleration is better but they don’t want you to drive it dangerously so Jaguar have thoughtfully restricted the speed limit to 140mph.
Up till then you are ok on your own.
What you don’t get in terms of power, the XF2.2L Diesel certainly makes up for in other ways. Capable of returning a mightily impressive 69.5mpg (combined), it has an Intelligent stop/start system to save energy and reasonably low emissions (for this type of car anyway) of 140 CO2 g/km, to save the planet too.
Of course you still get the same build quality as the bigger and more expensive versions. The interior is incredibly well put together, from the detailed stitching on the leather steering wheel to the phosphor blue halo illumination and interior mood lighting, every inch has been carefully considered both visually and practically, working together to create a driving experience that is both calming and luxurious.
It’s not perfect, the Sat-nav / console screen is hard to see in direct sunlight, and even heaters in £35k+ cars take time to warm up in Winter, but these are more niggles than serious problems.
Switch on the ignition, and the air conditioning vents rotate in a way that is pure Hollywood. The rising silver rotating gearshift dial, the ‘JaguarDrive Selector’, and touch sensitive overhead lights all add to the magic. The 600W Bowers and Wilkins Stereo isn’t too shabby either, you can rip CD’s onto the media players hard drive, plug in your iPod, and it’s great to listen to digital station 6music in the car.
Finding a perfect driving position is easy, and even after 3 hours in the seat I wasn’t stiff or tired at all. Ironically, the most comfortable seat in your house could well be in the garage.
The 8 speed electronic automatic transmission with Jaguar Sequential Shift works well and should there be a call for sudden power, you can, with a turn of the dial, use the paddles on the steering column to change down (or up). In reality the transmission was good enough that I never actually needed to use them.
The Servotronic Steering is intuitive and combined with the Dynamic Stability Control ensure a ridiculously smooth ride. We’d be here till midnight if I listed all the XF’s technological and safety features, but the long list includes Rear view parking camera, Emergency brake assist, Pedestrian contact sensing and Active seat belts.
There are occasions when the smaller engine doesn’t quite keep pace with the acceleration you were expecting, and it does need a split second to catch up eg, when you’ve had to slow briefly for a roundabout.
Engine noise is minimal, although if you do jump out the diesel growl can be pronounced, mind you that is everyone else’s problem, you’ll be all cosy and happy inside.
The main competition comes from the excellent BMW 5-series, but the XF is a fantastic and impossibly easy to drive, it’s smooth and assured, and because of this some people will say, slightly on the dull side.
0-60: 8 Seconds
CO2 g/km: 149
Combined MPG: 69.5
Top Speed: Limited to 140 mph
MY XF 2.2L Diesel (Premium luxury edition) £37,950 On the road.
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